Many visitors are lured to Northern Cyprus by the irresistible blue waters of the warm Mediterranean. The bright summer sun sends sparkles on the gentle surface of the water, and rooms with a view are premium, offering guests awe-inspiring views of the rising or setting sun in North Cyprus. Waking up to the sight of the ocean can surely only be followed by a race down to the water and a dip before breakfast.
If you really want to get the most of the water, head to the resorts around Kyrenia, the aquatic playground of North Cyprus. With plenty of water sports on offer, most of the seaside hotels offer a variety of pursuits including water skiing, canoeing and tubing.
If you want to explore the under water beauties of the Med, however, Kyrenia really is the place for you – with over twenty scuba diving sites within easy reach of the town harbour. One of the most popular dives is Paradise, a recognised PADI five star centre, meaning it’s viewed as being in the top 100 centres in the world.
Something of an untouched gem – unlike the south which has been over-developed and over-dived leaving very little natural beauty left to explore – Kyrenia is packed full of underwater caves, cuts and canyons, while the underwater mountain peak of Zeyko never fails to impress.
Kyrenia has one of the longest diving seasons in the Mediterranean, and if you are diving late in the season and in the winter, some centres such as the Turtle Bay Dive Centre offer dry suits for a warmer, more comfortable dive experience.
Scuba diving schools in the area offer a broad all-inclusive range of international PADI, BSAC and CMAS diving courses, from children’s courses to professional development courses. Whether you are an experienced diver or a complete beginner, there are many unspoilt underwater treasures to explore within the shallow calm reefs and out to the more exciting caverns, walls, drop offs and caves.
If you have never dived before, ensure you look for a North Cyprus PADI approved diving school to be sure you receive the highest standards of training and the best kit. The PADI beginners program gives you an introduction to scuba diving and a gentle accompanied dive. Some schools will even teach you the beginners tips in sheltered sea coves (no boring swimming pools) giving you the excitement of being under the sea right from the start. Further courses, including the full four-day dive course and Open Water accreditation are also available.
One reason that Northern Cyprus attracts the best divers in the world is the variety of sea life which divers regularly see. Marine life of all shapes and sizes fill the water from octopus and turtles to shoaling fish, and there is always something to see every time you dive. The clear, unclouded waters make the wealth of marine life clearly visible – with visibility an astounding 30 metres on a good day. You may find yourself swimming alongside the famous green and loggerhead turtles, enjoying the company of stingrays, wrasse and groupers, or chasing an octopus across the corals and rocks.
Alongside the natural beauties sit a number of fascinating wrecks that you can explore. Some years ago, a portion of a jet aircraft was sunk, giving quite a unique diving experience. Kyrenia is also the site of an ancient Roman shipwreck, where the remains of a vessel that plied its trade throughout the ports of Eastern Mediterranean centuries ago now lie. This ancient trading vessel is in excellent condition with many parts still there to see – from amphora to delicate oil lamps.
Northern Cyprus has a very colourful recent history, and this is displayed on its sea bed. A vast number of ships and aeroplanes have been discovered on the floor of the sea around Kyrenia, most of which date back to the second world war. One such aircraft is a ‘Wellington Bomber’ that went into the sea to the east of Kyrenia near a power station which has been successfully located, explored and photographed. Who knows what else is out there to discover?!
NB: For safety reasons you should not scuba dive on your own in North Cyprus, and it is strictly illegal to either touch historic artefacts seen on your dive.